Remodeling bathrooms is a costly affair so it’s advisable that you plan your budget well. The total cost of remodeling could lie anywhere between $3,500 to $7,000 in case of the conservative models of bathrooms (where you’re upgrading only the essentials) or a small bathroom. But you will find that generally most of the projects are costlier. Therefore, it is important that you carefully budget your spending on the bathroom remodeling task. In this article we will be discussing in brief the factors to look for while planning an affordable bathroom remodel and how to budget the remodeling costs involved.
Who will do the work?
The first and foremost thing that you need to look for is who will be doing the remodeling work. Are you doing it all by yourself or are you going to hire a professional? The subcontractors are hired to handle different phases of the project or you can have a general contractor who can manage the whole remodeling task.
Now you’ll need to see exactly how extensive your remodel is going to be i.e. what is the scope of the work you are going to do? Are you planning for a complete transformation of your master bathroom or are you going to just give a small facelift to your half-bathroom?
Scope of the remodeling task
The size and allocation of the budget determines the scope of the remodel. See if there are costly alterations to be done such as rerouting plumbing and electricity, putting off a wall to extend your bathroom to another room, etc. Jot down your plans early so that you can make an accurate estimation of the budget.
Considering the unexpected costs
All your budget planning can fail due to the unexpected costs. The tearout phase of remodeling is very risky for unexpected expenses. Once the walls and floors are opened up the hidden damages are discovered. The damage is mostly due to the molds and water. The repair costs could run between $500 to $3,000. If there are no hidden damages, there might still be the need to replace elements which were earlier looking fine. The plumbing or wiring which were installed years ago also require updating to meet the code.
It’s better to assume that you’ll incur unexpected costs and consider them while budgeting your bathroom remodel. Generally speaking, these account for an additional 10-20% in costs.
The contractors charge their commissions if they purchase materials so it’s better that you yourself do the purchasing of required materials. Let the contractor procure the building materials like insulation and drywall and you buy the individual pieces such as mirrors, lighting, hardware and appliances.
The prices associated with the essential bathroom materials are given below:
- Tile- its cost depends on the type of tile chosen. The standard ceramic tiles cost $1-$5 per square foot; ornamental mosaics can run as high as $100 per square foot.
- Countertops- the tile, laminate or cultured marbles cost lower i.e. $4 per square foot whereas natural stone or quartz cost higher about $100 per square foot. Granite which is a long-time favorite for luxe renovations cost as much as $200 per square foot. The costs are reduced in case you choose thinner slabs.
- Cabinetry/Vanity- you can choose from the pre-built cabinets at affordable prices. The small, low-end cabinets can cost from $40-$90 whereas the larger, mid-range options are priced at $200-$700. The built-in custom cabinets cost higher since the price is affected by carpenter fees and your choice of wood. The cost can go upto $2,000+ per cabinet.
- Sinks- the sinks are available at as little as $50. The designer sinks can cost over $1,000.
- Hardware & Accessories- these do not cost much and are easily found. The towel racks, towel rings and toilet paper holders cost from $10 to $270, depending on their material and quality.
- Showers & Tubs- The average cost of installing shower is $900-$2,000. The high-end showers can cost as much as $6,000. The pricing here includes the cost of buying and installing valves, shower doors, the pan (floor) and the surround (walls). The standard shower/tub combos cost from $500-$1,000. The average cost of installation of a mid-range bathtub is $2,500 whereas the premium airjet tubs cost around $13,500.
- Lighting- the cost of the individual light fixtures is about $40-$100. Some may have built-in fans for ventilation. The upscale light fixtures cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. You’ll also have to pay the electrician for installation labor. For recessed lighting, you might need to spend $800 or more for the fixtures and installation.
The final budget allocation largely depends on your design choices and priorities. You can refer to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s cost breakdown for some standard guidelines.
- Design – 4%
- Labor – 20%
- Flooring – 9%
- Walls & Ceilings – 5%
- Doors & Windows – 4%
- Faucets & Plumbing – 14%
- Countertops – 7%
- Cabinetry & Hardware – 16%
- Fixtures – 15%
- Lighting & ventilation – 5%
- Other – 1%
Estimates are never accurate if they are based on too little information. Therefore, before planning, do the necessary groundwork like checking on the prices of various materials, going through the contractors documentation and much more in order to have an affordable bathroom remodel.